"The Secret is to Look Good on Paper”: Appropriating Mobility within and against a Machine of Illegalization

Scheel, Stephan. 2017. "The Secret is to Look Good on Paper”: Appropriating Mobility within and against a Machine of Illegalization. In: Nicholas De Genova, ed. The Borders of “Europe”: Autonomy of Migration, Tactics of Bordering. Durham, N.C.: Duke University Press, pp. 37-63. ISBN 978-0-8223-6916-5 [Book Section]

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Abstract or Description

This chapter uses the introduction of the Visa Information System (VIS), a vast biometric database, as an opportunity to compensate for the relative neglect of the European visa regime in border and migration studies. Inspired by the autonomy of migration approach, the chapter engages the European visa regime from migrants’ perspective to study how migrants appropriate mobility via Schengen visa in the context of biometric border controls. The visa regime emerges as a vast machine of illegalisation that provokes precisely those practices of appropriation that it is meant to forestall. Illustrated through the example of the provision of manipulated feeder documents, the chapter subsequently outlines six features that practices of appropriation share irrespective of their form. Apart from demonstrating that moments of autonomy of migration persist within biometric border regimes, the chapter thus introduces the notion of appropriation as an alternative concept to theorise migrants’ capacity to subvert border controls.

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Book Section

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May 2017Accepted
September 2017Published

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Date Deposited:

05 Jun 2017 11:10

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 16:27



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